How to Optimize Marketplace Conversion Rates?

Zoé Kahn

Having a good pool of services on offer and stockpiling high-quality products available from one place is not enough for running a successful e-commerce marketplace. Business-to-business (B2B) online sales require optimizing your marketplace with conversions in mind and having appealing service/product images is far from enough.

Major methods to boost sales in your online marketplace include streamlining of processes such as checkout and simplification of website elements like web forms. Flexible pricing can also boost conversions but pricing varies by business type, so let’s focus on optimizations any marketplace owner can adopt.

Shorten Checkout Process and Allow Guests

It took some time even for one of the leading e-commerce platforms like Magento to realize that a 5-step checkout process does not help sales and in turn, forces merchants to look for alternative platforms. And, guess what, now they have a 3-step checkout activated by default, and 1-step checkout extensions are available.

A shorter checkout process naturally boosts conversions as it enables clients to make purchases as fast as in real world. Another obstacle to online conversions you should remove pertains to customers having to open an account with you before purchase. It makes sense to have user accounts if you are a very large marketplace but there is no problem to collect all the required client info in the checkout form instead of requiring account creation. Guest account checkouts convert even accidental visitors into buyers.

Simplify Forms on Your Online Marketplace

Introducing a 3-step or 1-step checkout process does not necessarily mean it is easy to make a purchase. You can have a very short overall customer journey – with only a few steps from selection and comparison of products to deal closure – and still put off prospect buyers by asking for too much personal information.

Your data collection forms should be as simple as possible and they should only ask for the bare minimum. Sure, the required form fields will vary from business to business and from product to product but you still do not really need to ask question of the type “How did you find us?” These questions you can ask in person once you have your prospect’s email address, for instance.

Offer Multiple Payment Methods

A common mistake by new online merchants is to offer too few or too many payment methods on their marketplace. Select the right mix of payment methods for your specific industry and target customers to get best conversion results.

Offering too many payment methods can be as damaging as offering only a couple of them since your prospects start wondering about the advantages of a given payment processor over another instead of searching for more products or services you offer.

Finding the right balance is hard but try to have a payment method that is suitable for each region of the world and for any of customer personas. Add a payment on delivery if you sell physical goods and do not underestimate the popularity of traditional payment methods such as bank transfers or cheques. There are places where these are preferred payment methods.

Concluding Words

Incorporating these conversion rate improvements is only the start of a long journey to attract, convert and retain as many prospective customers. You should also optimize your online marketplace for mobile as now consumers perform more searches and purchases on mobile as compared to desktop sales. Enabling users to review products or services is a method to increase credibility and boost sales in return.

In fact, conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process in which some components gain more value with time while others obtain peripheral status.


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